Gnarls Barkley: Going On

For the most part, songs that appear on the radio and become wildly popular follow a very similar formula. Usually there is an infectious and familiar beat, a simple sing along chorus, unambiguous lyrics and safe subject matter. This fact makes Gnarls Barkley’s success of their first album “St. Elsewhere” and its catchy first single “Crazy” an anomaly. Sure, “Crazy” was just as catchy as anything ever played on the airwaves. However, consider Cee-Lo’s unique yet soulful vocals and, then obscure, DJ Danger mouse penchant to be weird for weird sake, not to mention the subject matter of insanity and the duos affinity for dressing in full costume while performing the hit. The hit took the entire industry not to mention the group by surprise. When the group released their sophomore album “The Odd Couple” anticipation was extremely high. On “The Odd Couple” album Danger Mouse seemingly has found his winning formula by combining hip hop stylized tracks over soulful 60’s grove and a pinch of phcyscadelia. Cee-Low chimes in with his high pitched gospel infused vocals and ambiguous lyrics to great effect. The first Single “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster)” showed that while Gnarls would have a similar vibe on this album they were not blindly trying to recreate “Crazy”. However, it’s the second single “Going On” that shows just how much the group has progressed. The eerie organs and emphatic handclaps seem very organic and a natural progression from their previous works. Not content with having another video with the group playing dress up, the video for “Going On” is an artistic triumph. Hopefully, radio and video will never be the same again.

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For the most part, songs that appear on the radio and become wildly popular follow a very similar formula. Usually there is an infectious and familiar beat, a simple sing along chorus, unambiguous lyrics and safe subject matter. This fact makes Gnarls Barkley’s success of their first album “St. Elsewhere” and its catchy first single “Crazy” an anomaly. Sure, “Crazy” was just as catchy as anything ever played on the airwaves. However, consider Cee-Lo’s unique yet soulful vocals and, then obscure, DJ Danger mouse penchant to be weird for weird sake, not to mention the subject matter of insanity and the duos affinity for dressing in full costume while performing the hit. The hit took the entire industry not to mention the group by surprise. When the group released their sophomore album “The Odd Couple” anticipation was extremely high.

On “The Odd Couple” album Danger Mouse seemingly has found his winning formula by combining hip hop stylized tracks over soulful 60’s grove and a pinch of phcyscadelia. Cee-Low chimes in with his high pitched gospel infused vocals and ambiguous lyrics to great effect. The first Single “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster)” showed that while Gnarls would have a similar vibe on this album they were not blindly trying to recreate “Crazy”. However, it’s the second single “Going On” that shows just how much the group has progressed. The eerie organs and emphatic handclaps seem very organic and a natural progression from their previous works. Not content with having another video with the group playing dress up, the video for “Going On” is an artistic triumph. Hopefully, radio and video will never be the same again.

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